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ResourcesWorld’s Best Cities to Be a Student In 2024

World’s Best Cities to Be a Student In 2024

Choosing to study abroad sounds exciting in theory, but when you dive into the details, it can get overwhelming. Students from around the world often grapple with a multitude of factors when they’re trying to pick the perfect city for their studies.

Questions like, “How safe is it in a completely new city?” or “Do the locals speak English, or will I need to learn a new language?” can be daunting. And let’s not forget the hunt for scholarships to make living there more affordable. But fret not; MastersDegree.net has got you covered – we’ve done all the legwork, so you don’t have to.

We’ve combined student popularity, English proficiency, friendliness, quality of life, and safety scores, along with factors like monthly budget and scholarship opportunities, to calculate the ultimate city score for ranking.

Here’s the final list of the best student cities for 2024 according to our score:

London Takes the Crown as the Best Student City

A melting pot of fellow international students? Check. English as the official language? Check. Work opportunities post-graduation? Check. London has long been a favorite destination, both for tourists and students, so it’s not surprising that it made the top of our list. 

While Brexit has brought about shifts in immigration policies for EU students, the number of international non-UK students in the country is still on the rise, particularly through postgraduate enrollments. With a total of 24,145 international students, University College London boasts the highest number of international students in the country. 

What’s more, London has a notably high graduate retention rate, with nearly half (47%) of the students who opt to study here remaining in the city after completing their studies. 

London is a goldmine of cultural and historic treasures such as the Buckingham Palace and Shakespeare’s Globe. Add to that its status as one of the world’s key financial hubs, and it’s easy to see why international students absolutely love the city!

Vienna, Melbourne, and Munich Follow in the Top Four

Right behind London, you’ll find Vienna, Melbourne, and Munich, making up the top four student cities worldwide. What do these three have in common, you may think? Well, for starters, they’re known to attract some of the highest numbers of international students in their respective countries. 

Unlike Melbourne, English is not the primary language spoken in Vienna and Munich. Nevertheless, you’ll discover that navigating in English is a breeze in both cities since they have some of the world’s highest English proficiency levels among non-native speakers. Austria ranks third, while Germany stands at 10th place globally.

Vienna is the safest of all cities on our list and third in terms of quality of life. The University of Vienna, which shares the city’s name, has over 28,000 international students, constituting more than a quarter of its total student population and making it the country’s leader in international student enrollment. These factors, including its reputation as an art lover’s paradise and the “City of Music,” make Vienna a top choice for international students, with around 25% choosing to stay in the country after graduation.

Melbourne also boasts one of Australia’s largest international student populations, with RMIT University, Monash University, and the University of Melbourne hosting 26,590, 22,140, and 14,166 international students, respectively. As the third most livable city worldwide and Australia’s top choice, it attracts both locals and international students, with 13% of the latter staying in Australia post-graduation.

Did someone say post-graduation opportunities? Munich, Germany, is third on our list in terms of employment rates, so it’s no wonder that 48% of international students who come to the country choose to call it home even five years later. The city is home to Germany’s top university, the Technical University of Munich (TUM), where international students make up an impressive 44% of its student body.

Language Matters: 5 of 10 Cities Are Native English Speakers

With five out of our top ten cities being from countries where English is either the primary or an official language, it’s evident that language plays a pivotal role in international students’ city selection. Interestingly, four out of the five remaining cities (Vienna, Munich, Zurich, and Amsterdam) all come from countries with impressive English proficiency levels.

Paris, France, however, ranks slightly lower in this aspect. Nevertheless, the country draws the largest number of international students (43,464) from Morocco, where French is widely spoken. 

Many other students choose this city specifically to immerse themselves in its beautiful language (cue the “Are you happy to be in Paris? Oui.” TikToks). 

Alternatively, if you want to hone your French skills but prefer the safety net of English, consider Montreal, the sixth city in our list, where French and English are the two most common languages. Canada’s reputation for friendliness means you’ll likely find a local eager to help you practice, too.

The same warm welcome awaits you in Toronto, our eighth city on the list and a favored destination for international students. To no surprise, 73% of international students in Canada plan to stay in the country after graduation. 

Zurich and Amsterdam Lead in Quality of Life and Job Opportunities

While, last in our list, Zurich and Amsterdam excel in quality of life and employment rate indices. These cities are home to renowned universities and institutions celebrated for their academic excellence. ETH Zurich, Switzerland’s top university, accommodates more than 25,000 international students, while the University of Amsterdam welcomed around 14,000. 

The Netherlands sees over 30% of international students remaining in the country for employment post-graduation, especially in supply chain management and IT. In Switzerland, there’s a demand for over 120,000 jobs across various sectors, including computer science, healthcare, and hospitality. Mastering the local language is often a crucial factor when pursuing job opportunities in both countries.


Ranking Country City Student Popularity Score AVG Monthly Budget Can I get fully-funded scholarships? English Proficiency Friendliness Score Safety Score Quality of Life Score Employment Rate Mastersdegree.net City Score
1 UK London 3.2 €1,700(£1,500) Yes 700 56 1.7 164.20 75.5 31.4
2 Austria Vienna 1.5 €1,200 Yes 632 64 1.3 183.30 74.1 20.6
3 Australia Melbourne 1.5 €1370(AU$2250) Partial 700 37 1.6 165.70 64.36 13.4
4 Germany Munich 1.0 €1,453 Yes 592 47 1.5 176.00 77.5 10.4
5 France Paris 1.0 €1,435 Partial 585 55 1.9 153.20 68.6 8.0
6 Canada Montreal 0.4 €970(CA$1,406) Yes 700 10 1.4 156.40 62 6.5
7 Australia Sydney 0.5 €1,500(AU$2,100) Yes 700 37 1.6 165.70 64.36 5.2
8 Canada Toronto 0.5 €1,940(CA$ 2,829) Yes 700 10 1.4 156.40 62 4.0
9 Switzerland Zurich 0.2 €1,500 Yes 622 63 1.4 185.80 80.7 2.5
10 Netherlands Amsterdam 0.2 €1,150 Partial 661 35 1.5 200.10 82.5 1.9

MastersDegree.net Score Methodology

The MastersDegree.net score is a comprehensive city ranking system for students, developed with integrity and precision by our education experts. 

Here’s how we ensure the trustworthiness of our score:

  • Official Sources: Our data is sourced from authoritative databases and reports to maintain accuracy and reliability.
  • Expert Panel: The score is compiled by education professionals with years of experience in education and student services.

The score includes the following factors, each underpinned by robust data:

  • Student Popularity Score: Utilizing data from each city’s international student population. The more international students, the higher this score.
  • Average Monthly Budget: Calculated from individual cost-of-living data. The lower the cost, the higher a city is on the list, weighted against the other factors.
  • Scholarship Accessibility: Based on comprehensive listings. The availability of fully funded scholarships increases the city’s overall score.
  • English Proficiency: Directly sourced from the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), reflecting the city’s language capabilities. Higher proficiency levels increase the city’s overall score. 
  • Friendliness Score: Taken from World Population Review, ensuring a genuine assessment of local attitudes toward students. Lower friendliness scores lead to a higher MastersDegree.net score.
  • Safety Score: Drawn from World Population Review. Lower safety scores lead to a higher MastersDegree.net score.
  • Quality of Life Score: Adopted from the Numbeo Quality of Life Index.
  • Employment Rate: Derived from Trading Economics. A higher employment rate increases our overall score.

Each factor is scored and weighted according to its significance, as determined by our panel of experts. This methodical process yields a nuanced and dependable MastersDegree.net score, guiding students in their quest for the ideal study destination.
Questions? Get in touch: [email protected].

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